The mission of the school is to actualise the educational vision of Swami Vivekananda. He wanted life-building, man-making and character- building education that is a result of a harmonious blend of the best elements of Eastern and Western values. This mission defines the distinctive character of the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya High School. It addresses the needs of the society and students by fulfilling an important and urgent want, arresting the erosion of human values at the individual and collective level. Further, the students’ immediate need is the attainment of excellence in his chosen career, while his ultimate need is the acquisition of knowledge, both theoretical and practical. Swami Vivekananda’s vision of a complete person produced by the right type of education with fully developed faculties of heart, head and hand addresses both the above needs.
A Life of Sacrifice:
These stirring words of Swami Vivekananda reverberated in Avinashilingam’s mind. Nobody who hears them or reads them can remain unaffected. They have inspired thousands of young men to action and to life. Swamiji wanted to revolutionise the world and India to higher and greater life and for that purpose wanted a thousand young men who, nerved to a lion’s courage out of their sympathy for the poor, would dedicate themselves to their service. Sri T.S. Avinashilingam was inspired by the message of the Swami and his Master, and his heart yearned to be one of the thousand. First he received the blessings of Swami Shivananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and took to life- long vow of service and brahmacharya for the emancipation of women and upliftment of the downtrodden.
Ooty Ashrama – 1929:
Sri T.S. Avinashilingam Chettiyar used to frequent this ashrama when he was a practicing lawyer. He, then, used to discuss with the then president of the ashrama, Swami Chidbhavananda about the plans he had formulated for the future. On Vijaya Dasami in the year 1929, they both decided that an orphanage be started.
A small committee met at Coimbatore to discuss the modalities of starting the orphanage. The then president of the Chennai Math, Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj, Sri T.A. Ramalingam Chettiyar, Sri T.S. Kalyanasundaran Chettiyar constituted the advisory committee along with Avinashilingam.
Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj:
A direct disciple of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna, and Avinashilingam’s spiritual guru, wrote to him in a letter on November 19, 1929 giving his blessings for starting the orphanage. In it, he wrote, “… There is no doubt that starting an orphanage is very good work… if you could involve yourself selflessly in this, money for the continuance of the work will come on its own.”
Plan fructifies – 1930: Vidyalaya was started on February 03, 1930 at 6.30 a.m. in this tile roofed house which was located at Race Course, Coimbatore. Swami Yatishwaranandaji Maharaj, Sri T.A. Ramalingam Chettiyar, Sri V.C. Vellingiri Gounder, Sri R. Ramakrishnan, Sri T.S. Kalyanasundaram Chettiyar, Judge Sri Kundu Pannicker, Sri C.B. Ratnasabhapati Mudaliar, educationist Sri C.M. Ramachandran Chettiyar participated in the inaugural function. The School was the first institution to be started in this Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya campus. T.S. Avinashilingam desired to turn this students’ home into a residential school. In the year 1931, the Vidyalaya was remodeled into a Gurukula in a thatched hut in Vellakinar, which belonged to Sri V.C. Vellingiri Gounder.
Shifted to Podanur – 1933:
Snakes abounded in Vellakinar. Hence, the Vidyalaya was shifted to a bungalow belonging to Sri G.D. Naidu, the maverick genius, innovator and industrialist of Tamil Nadu. It was here that the orphanage, which became a students’ home and then a residential school, reincarnated itself as the Vidyalaya.
The Freedom Movement:
Was at its zenith and Mahatma Gandhi had taken the reins of the Indian National Congress. Avinashilingam was drawn into the freedom movement and became an able organiser and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He was arrested twice by the British Government and was sent to prison. Mahatma Gandhiji, during his South India visit, came to the Vidayalaya on 06.02.1934 and stayed for few days with the founder. On 7th February 1934, Gandhiji laid foundation stone for the school building that now bears the name of Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya High School.
Breaking the Caste Prejudice:
Sri Avinashilingam started the Vidyalaya to provide man-making education to the people especially of remote villages, who were neglected by society for a very long period. To break the caste prejudice he admitted a harijan boy as the first student. Some of his well wishers and friends criticised him for this idea, fearing that if he admitted a boy of low caste, then other people would not admit their wards here. But the founder was very strong in his principle and achieved his goal.
Gets affiliated with the Ramakrishna Mission – 1935:
The desire and dream of seeing the small Vidyalaya as a big educational institution moved Avinashilingam to make an earnest application to the Ramakrishna Mission for making it one of its branches. This request was accepted and the Ramakrishna Mission announced the Vidyalaya as its branch on 07 January 1935.
In Periyanaickenpalayam – 1936:
Finally, the Vidyalaya was shifted from Podanur to a location in Periyanaickenpalayam, where there was no habitation a mile around. The school was given permanent recognition in 1939 (annexure – 1). This 14 acre-land was donated by Sri Ramakrishna Naidu in memory of his parents Sri T. Rangappa Naidu and Smt. Rangammal. The Vidyalaya, which began in a thatched hut, today is a huge educational complex comprising 15 educational institutions offering value-added programs ranging from Balwadi to the doctorate degree.